It took a few more years—through day jobs, getting married, and starting a family—before she proved herself wrong. She had a first grader and a toddler at home when she got the itch again, in no small part because “I needed it for my mental health. I think it’s a pretty common feeling at that point in your life—to want something that’s just yours, that you don’t have to share.” Eventually, she narrowed her focus to the fantasy genre, churning out a half-dozen attempts and linking up with an online community of hopeful writers who offered each other feedback and support. Her debut novel, The Gospel According to St. Rage, came out in 2016.
She’s still got a part-time day job (she works as a secretary at a Seattle-area church), leaving her ample time to work up more stories, write music—she plays drums in a band with her brother, and has written songs inspired by the characters in her books—and blog about a favorite topic: interesting band names. And she stays active in online writing communities, sometimes offering help to writers who are just starting their own journeys. “I’m a very small fish, but I do have this experience of having put a few books out,” she says. “It’s very satisfying knowing that, maybe, I have something to share with other writers.” Her next novel, Death’s Midwife, is due in 2021.